Donít Ask: Rick Sieman Answers Your Dirt Bike Questions

Apr. 06, 2016 By Rick Sieman

If you choose to email a question to this forum, then you must conduct yourself accordingly. Therefore, the following rules are in order:

1. Do not write your email to me IN CAPS. If you do so, I will print out your question and do terrible things to it.

2. Do not request a personal e-mail response. Since I get thousands of questions each month, trying to answer them all would cut deeply into my leisure time, which I value more than your current state of confusion.

3. Try to spell at least in a semi-correct fashion. If you choose to mangle the English language, expect no mercy from this quarter. You might be mocked severely.

4. Do not ask for me to send you copies of my many manuals and literature. I am not in the library business, nor do I want to spend the bulk of my day at the copy machine just because you're too lazy to ask your dealer,  or look around a bit.

5. Don't bother me with truly stupid questions, like how to get 50 more horsepower for a buck and a half

6. Now that you know the rules, think carefully and have at it!

Oh yes Ö Iíll leave your e-mail unedited, for what itís worth.

Send your questions to [email protected], Attn: Don't Ask, or leave your questions in the comment section below.

Previous Don't Ask Columns
March 2016

February 2016

January 2016



Hey there,

I know you're a busy guy so I'll make this quick, I have a Suzuki rm125 and can't figure out the year, the vin is (Js1rf12a2f210202960) it has a water cooler which I can't find on any rm.. I would need to know the year on this motorcycle because I would like to get it registrated and need new parts for.. Thanks for reading

Your email just about drove me nuts. I tried to look up your vin number to find out what year the bike was, and I found out that you should have a 17-digit VIN number. Instead you gave me a 19-digit vin number. But I contacted Keith Lynas and he was able to determine what the bike was in spite of your shortcomings. Keith said that it was an 85 RM 125. So there you have it, in spite of the total confusion. 



I just wanted to point out an error on the names of your photos of your Mexican motorcycles.
I grew up in Monterrey, Mexico and now reside in San Antonio, Texas, but I have plenty of fond memories of growing up in the Mexican motorcycle scene of the 1960s and Ď70s.
My first bike and my brotherís was an Islo Tizoc 175cc red with chrome parts two-stroke four-spead gearbox, manufactured in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, thatís the bike you have erroneously labeled on your web site, Iím attaching pics of me and my brothers posing proudly aside our Islo bike.
Later I graduated to a Carabela 175 cc and then a Carrera 200MX black with white stripes, much potent than the Islo and with a true moto cross frame.
After almost 20 years while living in Orange County California, I got back into motorcycles but this time with super bikes, I owned a 2006 Kawasaki Ninja X6R, and a 2007 Suzuki GSF1250S.
Let me know if you want to talk about old bikes from Mexico.
Jorge Pena

I genuinely apologize for not spelling the names correctly, but sometimes we get our information from people who can't spell any better than we do. In the very near future we will make a super attempt to never make that mistake again.



I loved this book. It is straight from the heart. Super Hunky is all in. This is where it all started. The Hunk was the only one who would stick up for the riders and not kiss the factorys ass over some of the shitty bikes.With Jack Penton, Malcom Smith, and Rodger Decoster things got a lot better. This is the story of this struggle!! Also he risked his ass to keep the desert open to public use. With out the Hunk and the fantom Duck of the Desert. There would not be a place to ride. I have bought this book as gifts ,so the young riders know the history of this sport!!!!
Chris Nelson

It's funny, but now that I get older, I realize that Monkey Butt was a genuine history of what happened way back then. Sometimes I'll pick up a copy myself and read a bit here and there. It sure brings back a lot of memories. By the way, Monkey Butt is in its fourth printing and we sold about 15,000 copies so far.



Dear Rick,

I have always wondered the identity of the bike and rider on the Dirt Bike Magazine masthead. To me, the rider looks like Adolph Weil, but the bike looks like an early Suzuki MXer. How about ending the mystery?
Craig Fox

After a whole lot of research and talking with knowledgeable people, we came to the conclusion that the bike in question was either a 250 or 400 TM Suzuki. Once we had that information, some very detailed studying of the photo had us convinced that the bike was indeed a 400 TM Suzuki. We have no idea who the rider was.



Hello Super H,

I was a big fan. My friends and I would read Dirt Bike and Motocross Action cover to cover. I remember laughing are heads off reading the top ten dumbest things you had ever done-dropping your new gloves in the porta John and pinning your head between the handlebars of the ceiling of your van.  In high school I dreamt of getting a dirt bike. My bedroom wall was covered in dirt bike pictures from your magazine. They inspired me to get a job at 15 and save enough to buy my first bike, a brand new Can-Am 125 MX2.  For the next ten years I lived and breathed dirt bikes.  I went on to become a Navy Jet pilot and quit riding cold turkey until last year when I bought a new Triumph Thruxton.  Now I'm dreaming about getting a new dirt bike again.  Full circle.

Tim Keuvelaar
You may have laughed real hard over the dumb things in the articles, but you would have never even found out about some of the other stupid things that I did in the process of becoming a very old dirt biker. Thanks for the good words and get riding soon.


Rick Sieman,

The name Rick Sieman is correct - ``Super-Hunky``?? Wow, I was wondering where, what... Anyway, recently, I was given a 1981 YZ465, and now I`ve got resto-fever!
And I want to read whatever was written about the bike back then.

So, if you could please, point me in the direction of any and all things `81 YZ465.

Dan Mattera
Thousand Oaks, CA

The 1981 YZ 465 was an excellent bike. It had plenty of power and all the right kind. Handling was fairly good, except that getting that rear mono-shock dialed in properly took a lot of time and effort. The forks worked good but certainly not in the same category as the Maicos. It was trim, light weight, shifted well and it felt just about right when you sat on it. I raced one for a few months and managed to pull three holeshots. Your best bet to find out more about the bike, somehow get a copy of the 1981 Dirt Bike that had that test, and that would be March of that year.



I hope you are well. I bought your book Monkey Butt! A couple years ago that you autographed for me. I live near Pittsburgh Pa. I have an Ossa story I think you may find interesting.
With the job I have there are security guard checkpoints that I have to pass through to gain access to where I need to go. I have been doing it often enough that I know most of the guards fairly well. About 6 weeks ago one female guard, who lives near Barnesville Ohio, invited me to a garage sale she was having. It is something that I normally would not do. I stopped anyway.
She had a barn full of clothes that would not fit me. Since I was there she said she had an old dirt bike she wanted me to look at to see if I could give her an idea of it's worth. I said OK. We went up the yard to an old, falling down, shed. Just inside was the bike. I looked at it and knew right away exactly what it was. I told her "it's an Ossa Six Days Replica. I used to have one back in the early 1980s". I had to buy it so I told her $400 without checking it over. She agreed. She said she thought she had the title.
We went back down to the barn to look for it. When we got there she had a phone call and asked me to sift through the stack of titles she had while she talked on the phone. I found the Ossa title. It had the name of the person that I had sold it to, who lived in Columbus Ohio at the time, as the buyer and MY name as the seller/previous owner.
I found the bike I had sold about 35 years ago.
It turns out that the son of the person I sold it to and the security guards son were friends in the military. The security guards son bought the bike but they never completed the title transfer.
If you have any interest I can send you a few pics of the bike as I found it and a pic of the title.
Once I started tearing into it I've found that it doesn't have spark. That has been a big disappointment. My plan is to restore it, at least, to the point of being reliable to ride. I do plan to ride it.
Take care Rick and I thank you for your time,
Jim Sullivan

Wow, that's a great story with a good ending. It made me think back to some of the greatest bikes I've owned throughout the years that I wish I had now. Of course, we never really appreciate what we had back then.



While helping clean up the historic Butte Creek Mill, Eagle Point Oregon, after a devastating fire (oldest continually working grist mill west of the Mississippi) I found this button among the ashes and immediately thought of you, Rick!

Check it out:

Take care.

David "Amazing Dave" Fruhling

Dave, you never cease to amaze me with what you'll come up with next.



Hey Rick,
Hope you're going ok?  Have you moved again?  Can you settle a bet for us, please?
Did putting lemon in beer originate in Mexico and was it to keep flies away? Many thanks old mate.


Actually, they use lime and it's used to add flavor to beer that isn't cold, or has been sitting around for some time. New address: Rick Sieman, 684 N Pinal Dr, Apache Junction, AZ 85120.

Thanks, Rick.
You were the only person I could think of that would know!
Hope move went well.


My new book, THE LAST RIDE, is at now out. It's fiction and starts in 1969, when an 18-year-old kid just out of high school gets a chance to ride his Yamaha 250 DT1 from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles Ö all off-road. 

His adventures are truly amazing. The book then jumps 40+ years where the same person, now in his 60s, wants to get that old Yamaha back in his possession and return it home by riding it all off-road across the country again. The book is $15 plus $2.75 for mail anywhere in the US and for more information, the email is: [email protected]

Paypal address: [email protected]

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